Wanna Be a Rock Star?

The Rock and Roll Report Talks to Ed Dorsey of Promotions Company THEDORSEYTOUCH

Recording an amazing album is wonderful and all but if nobody gets a chance to hear it it kind of defeats the purpose. I had a chat with Ed Dorsey of THEDORSEYTOUCH, a promotions company who, well promotes music and Ed explains the importance of promotions in this Web 2.0 world, why iTunes is not necessarily a great thing for the music business and what bands need to do to make themselves heard.

Rock and Roll Report: How long have you (Ed) been in the business?

Ed Dorsey: I have over 25 years of experience working, in one capacity or another, in the music business. I began when I was 16 years old, selling records in an underground record shop in Indiana.

RRR: Do you manage artists or are you primarily a promotions company?

ED: While I have managed artists during my career, I am first and foremost a record promoter. THEDORSEYTOUCH is a promotions company.

RRR: And what was your reason for getting into this cut-throat business?

ED: As a young person, music is what shaped who I am and what my beliefs are. I immersed myself into artists and bands like David Bowie, Van Morrison, Laura Nyro, Otis Redding, Buddy Guy, The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and The Stooges. My family was somewhat divided amongst their beliefs on racial issues and political issues, so I found myself as an individual not through what my family preached or said to me, but what I heard in the lyrics and the messages of just a few of these bands and artists that I’ve mentioned. As for going independent, I believe that the industry needs to expand the parameters of commercially acceptable music and recognize the need for a greater equal distribution of wealth in the industry. As you mention below, new music is the lifeline of the industry and I believe that the major labels should be more involved on a grassroots level, helping to create new music trends instead of just jumping on the bandwagon after all the legwork has been done and cashing in on a few acts.

RRR: When did you start THEDORSEYTOUCH?

ED: First incarnation of THEDORSEYOTUCH was in 1999. I’d been working with major labels for many years before that and there came a point where I felt I had enough of being put into uncompromising positions having to promote artists I didn’t truly believe in.

RRR: Where are you located?

ED: Clearwater, Florida

RRR: What are some of the services you offer through the company?

ED: We promote indie artists across the board from internet radio to independent and terrestrial stations, to major reporting stations, and when we’re lucky enough, to commercial radio stations. We have relationships with outlets that include 2,500 college, non-commercial and commercial broadcast radio stations and 4,800 internet radio stations.

RRR: You say on your site “New music is the lifeline of the industry and Ed believes that the major labels should be more involved on a grassroots level, helping to create new music trends instead of just jumping on the bandwagon after all the legwork has been done and cashing in on a few acts. In that respect, and due to a fervid passion for music and the artists that create that music, Ed Dorsey now works extensively with independent artists and independent labels.” How do you go about this?

ED: We have relationships with several different submission companies that provide download services to radio. We work closely with our clients, aiding them and teaching them to increase their fan base, and we promote them extensively online, offline and by phone.

RRR: What are some of the labels and bands you have worked with?

ED: I have been employed by numerous record labels, including: Arista, Relativity, Important Records, now RED, Grudge (RCA/BMG), DB Records, Ear Ache, Combat, and In-Effect Records. I’ve worked under the direction of Clive Davis, Chuck Gregory, Gordon Anderson, Barry Corbin and Danny Beard. I have worked my records to several radio formats, including AOR, CHR, AC, Country, Jazz, Modern Rock, College, Triple A, and R & B.

RRR: Are there specific people you are looking for that can use your services? (Do you only accept certain people? Or if they can pay, you’ll take anyone on as a client?)

ED: We’re looking for the best talent in the industry and we will not compromise or take on an artist or band we don’t believe in musically.

RRR: About how many bands are currently on your roster? Give us a brief rundown of them.

ED: We were involved with promoting the legendary Delaney Bramlett at the beginning of the year.
Delaney has been an integral part of the music scene for over 40’s years, sharing the stage with such greats as Eric Clapton, George Harrison, etc. We’re excited that Delaney Bramlett is under consideration for a Grammy nomination for his blues album. It has been an honor to be chosen by this legendary artist to represent him as his promoter when we did, and it has been a true pleasure working with him and Susan Lanier-Bramlett, his wife.
I have a fervid passion for music and can often be quite critical of what I hear. Therefore, I am very selective of the artists I choose to work with. My success record has proven itself time and again due to my discerning tastes and deep passion for my artists’ talents. We do not shop artists however we do pay attention when we feel a genuine belief in what we hear. We do have a few artists under consideration.

RRR: Some of the up-and-coming things that will be happening to your company?

ED: We are looking to expand our operations. We are on the cutting edge of internet, terrestrial and satellite radio promotion and keeping up with the state of the art internet tools for promotion is tantamount in our expectations.
We’ve built a talented and vibrant team of promoters around the country and we have an international presence. My staff brings a variety of talents to our work as a full-service promotion company. Michelle, my Myspace President and Operations Manager, is an expert at internet promotion and managing the day to day affairs of my business. My wife, Sherrie, owner of THEDORSEYTOUCH, has been a club owner and co-studio owner, graphic artist, and is currently an intranet promoter for some of the largest computer companies in the world including, IBM, Lenova and Dell, just to name a few, and she is also a power executive for the number one fortune 500 company in Florida, Tech Data. Angie has been in terrestrial radio for well over 20 years. Carmen is one of the Best DJs and Music Directors in internet radio. Nancy, who also has an awesome ear and is our A&R director, will do anything she is called in to do, and also works closely with the charities we support. Mark, our New Zealand Director, is always scouting out and forming new relationships with international artists. And Shaz, as you know, is our Australian Promotion Director, who is one of the most dedicated and hardest-working people we’ve ever known, brings such vivacity and excitement to the team. Lori is our mistress of words, our inspiration and spiritual guidance. Serene, our Nevada promotion director has a positive yet fighting spirit. And we have Kim, our college radio promoter and managing editor, who is always hitting the clubs and bringing attention to up and coming bands and artists, as well as keeping me young at heart. Our staff is small but collectively speaking very powerful, knowledgeable and resourceful, which is another reason we are able to keep our prices low but still deliver the goods at the same time. We focus our energy and talent into no more than one to three artists or bands at a time, ensuring that our artists are treated like family and not just another client, and they get maximum attention, exposure and airplay.

RRR: Who are you excited about and why?

ED: We are excited about Soulbound. They are currently unsigned, and Gregg Gill, after seeing Soulbound perform, immediately offered them recording time. With Gill’s mixing and mastering expertise, Soulbound recorded their first three-song demo over 21 hours in three days. Their talent shines through in their demos. They have a unique, contemporary, hard feel that would appeal to a variety of music lovers.
Solas is a band from Paris. The reason that we are so excited about them is their pulsing energy and the fact that they bring several elements from punk, rock, grunge and blues into an international sound that not only appeals to a European audience but an American audience. Musically, rhythmically and melodically speaking, they got it, even if you don’t know the words they’re singing.
Tearwave, for the first time in many years, has brought shoe gaze music to the forefront again. Producer, guitarist and writer, Doug White, is not only a phenomenal producer, but excellent musician. Jen’s vocals draw any listener in and with the backing of Joe on bass and John on drums, shoe gaze is back for good and reminiscent to the years when shoe gaze was at the forefront of the music industry. So much excitement has not been generated by shoe gaze bands since the Cocteau Twins and the Cure. This band continues to expand its talents with each and every single release and album. I’ve known and worked with Doug White for well over 20 years. He’s also the owner of a very successful studio, Watchmen Studios.

RRR: In this world of the Internet and Web 2.0 where there are so many ways for bands to promote and book their own gigs, why do you think having a team like TDT matters?

ED: Combined, we have well over 30-35 years of experience in record promotion in the music industry. We are a team that is passionate about music and dedicated to promoting our talented artists.

RRR: At what point should a band consider signing with management?

ED: Immediately. I can’t stress enough that management is imperative. Once an artist has a viable demo that can be sent to record labels, club owners and promoters, they need to hire a manager. And, they have to be willing to pay the commissions to that manager, as well as put their trust and faith in the manager they choose.

RRR: What should young bands be on the lookout for these days? What advice can you give them for avoiding common pitfalls?

ED: This goes right back to management. They need to have management, then promotion. They always must play live as much as they can. Artists should never pay to play, but also never turn down a gig, even a non-paying one. And very importantly, artists need to build their fan base from the inside out, starting with local fans.

RRR: How has the industry changed since you first started?

ED: Playing the devil’s advocate, companies like iTunes with all their good intentions, I feel, is, to a certain extent, damaging. The popularity of digital singles is effectively killing the album format, putting the music industry in jeopardy. Albums are where artists make their money. This is not only hurting major label artists but independent artists as well. There’s a greater distribution of wealth but having the option to download singles as opposed to only album format isn’t distributing the wealth as much as artists used to see. After said download is paid for, purchasers are able to share the music free with other fans. While our artists have prospered to a certain extent through companies like iTunes, those companies are doing it in the best interest of making as much cash as possible. It’s certainly not for the passion or love of the music. The internet has been good for indie artists as far as exposure, however, we’re losing the Moms and Pops record shops and major retail outlets because of the ability to get free downloads off the internet. Now people can either choose to pay for their music online or they can simply rip it off and not pay a penny. And then some bands like the Eagles and AC/DC choose to go with only a single retail outlet, like Walmart.

RRR: Anything you think people need to know about you and the company that has not been asked in the previous questions.

ED: We at THEDORSEYTOUCH are committed to our artists. We have passion and we have talent and experience. We never sleep because we have a job to do. We understand how frustrating it can be for an indie artist to get their music heard, and in this current economy, we know full well how hard it is to afford professional, experienced promoters. We are here to help you. We can deliver what the major indies deliver but at a more personal level and lower cost. We will sacrifice for you, but you have to be willing to work along with us. 24/7, 365 days a year, we can be reached at the following phone numbers and email address:
727-784-2595 (office), 813-732-5529 (cell), 727-674-5525 (24-hour hotline)